IT WAS a no-fuss gathering.
There were no glamorous gowns and sparkling stilettos, no grand speeches, no fancy jewelry and high-and-mighty elites. Even the guest of honor, Mandaue City Vice Mayor Carlos Fortuna, knew his place in the crowd: to be a supporter and spectator of the artists and their works on the first Pundok Kawhaan Napulo’g Pito Open Group Exhibit.
An initiative of the ArtisTryst co-founders Mikki Roque and Joseph Brandon Mollaneda, the exhibit brought together 58 literary and visual
artists whose 35 poems and 35 artworks breathe life to the recently inaugurated Jose T. Joya Gallery of the University of the Philippines Cebu.
The call for submission of literary pieces was opened late last year. Poems submitted by writers were then “paired” with corresponding visual artists who transformed words to artworks.
Watercolor artist Wilbert Wee interpreted Tara Prieto’s “Elyen” and said that the process of coming up with an artwork based on his understanding of a Visayan literary piece was “difficult and challenging.”
“I needed to put myself into the work, take the elements that speak about me as well as the idea of the writer. I also needed to choose
the colors that would convey the message and then mix them altogether in one illustration,” he said.
Then there’s William Sienes, more popularly known as Billy of 96.3 WRock, who wrote the poem “The Moon Wants To Die.” Artist Efren Enolva interpreted his poem with an artwork titled “Sleepless Dreams” (oil on canvas).
“I learned more about my poem as he explained the process he went through to finish the artwork,” said Billy.
The gathering of literary and visual artists under one exhibit is not a novel idea in Cebu. The University has carried out a similar exhibit in the 1980s.
But the March 22 opening night was a symbolic event that marked the University’s openness to welcome non-UP artists to hold
exhibits at the Jose T. Joya Gallery.
“With this gathering, we are opening UP Cebu to the community, to the rest of Cebu. UP has ceased to be exclusive, we are now inclusive… We are opening this gallery as an alternative to commercial venues for people to exhibit their artworks,” said gallery director, multi-awarded artist, and Fine
Arts professor J. Karl Roque in his remarks during the opening of the exhibit.
Love and lost—with splashes of lust—were overarching themes of the featured poems. Artworks mostly in mixed media forms were sold that night, a certain percentage of the sales would benefit incoming students of the Mass Communication and Studio Arts programs of UP Cebu.
It was a gathering that The ArtisTryst envisioned it to be,a night when the gallery and the hallways of the College of Communication, Art and Design (yep, no more Arts and Humanities cluster) became a festival of creative hands and minds regardless of
discipline, training and experience. The exhibit runs until April 12.
Lights were turned on in the gallery to highlight the masterpieces displayed that night. But the ones who truly deserve the spotlight were Mikki, Brandon and Prof. Roque who dedicated time and effort to bring the artists together.
They can now run the country after this exhibit considering the mood, temper and eccentricities of the artists.